General News

Family of jailed Russian punk star unaware of new prison location

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Nov 01, 2013 | 5:50pm EDT

The relatives of incarcerated punk rocker Nadezhda Tolokonnikova have accused Russian authorities of failing to update them about the whereabouts of the star after transferring her to a new prison colony last month (Oct13). The Pussy Riot member had her request to be moved out of the Mordovia detention centre approved on 18 October (13), after embarking on a hunger strike to protest alleged mistreatment behind bars, where she is serving a two-year sentence for hooliganism. However, her father, Andrei, claims he has no idea where his daughter is being held because officials have not shared any information with her family - and he is starting to fear the worst. He says, "No one knows anything. There's no proof she's alive, we don't know the state of her health. Is she sick? Has she been beaten?" Her husband Petya Verzilov adds, "We think they moved her to a big city to hide her. It seems they got sick of these protests... This is basically the only way they have to punish Nadya - 'Let's cut her off from the outside world.'" Reports suggest Tolokonnikova was relocated to a prison in Alatyr in the Volga region of Chuvashiya "for her personal safety". Tolokonnikova and her bandmate Maria Alekhina were jailed last year (12) alongside fellow Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich over a controversial protest song they performed at a Moscow church, taking aim at Russian President Vladimir Putin. Samutsevich was freed in October, 2012, when her sentence was commuted, and Tolokonnikova and Alekhina are set to be released in March (14).

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